Easing of restrictions draws crowds out of home

[18 December] Unsurprisingly the combination of Christmas and the reopening of shops, bars and services has seen people out in huge numbers compared to previous weeks. Walking and driving activity (Apple) is now above the baseline once again, and demand for Public Transport within Belfast jumped significantly, however it remains below baseline. In NI as a whole, average weekly driving activity is level with the baseline, and data from 15th December shows +6%.

TomTom congestion data is reflective of this too, as more people use their cars within Belfast, traffic builds across the network. We’re seeing a return to patterns of earlier in the year, with rush hour peaks earlier in the afternoon and activity much higher than for the same period last week.

With pedestrian data until 13th December, reporting for this week includes a period of extreme restrictions to hospitality and non-essential retail. Despite this, activity in these locations remained relatively high. With restrictions relaxed from 11th December, it’s evident to see the uplift in footfall and the subsequent increase in the weekly average to 68% of the baseline. This sector had the largest weekly change, up 17% from the same period last week.

Grocery and pharmacy locations have remained hubs of activity through the year, and this has increased slightly, up 1% week on week. Average weekly footfall remains just 5% below the baseline. As many shops, restaurants and close contact services reopened, footfall in workplace environments increased too, with the weekly average at 74%, up 11% week on week.